DENR starts implementing ‘first aid’ solutions to Boracay
As Boracay was formally closed down yesterday for its six-months rehabilitation, Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu, as chair of the inter-agency Task Force Boracay, urged all stakeholders to help and participate in the restoration of the island.
“We need to rehabilitate Boracay to make it a safe, living, and environmentally sustainable island where people from all walks of life can enjoy the benefits its beauty can bring,” Cimatu said.
“For that to happen we will need ‘all hands on deck’ – government employees, business owners, workers, residents, and of course, the tourists – local and foreign, who have made Boracay a byword in the tourism world,” he added.
Cimatu said the DENR’s rehabilitation efforts in Boracay during the six-month closure period will be focused on five key areas: drainage and sewerage rehabilitation; solid waste management; forestlands and easement recovery and alienable and disposable land management; road and transport (which includes air quality management); and biodiversity conservation, wetlands rehabilitation, and geological hazard management.
“Within this period we intend, as President Rodrigo Roa Duterte directed, to put in place what we might call a ‘first aid’ solution to Boracay’s woes. We will put its sewage and solid waste systems in place. We will demolish illegal structures – big or small – in the foreshore and protected areas, in the wetlands and forest lands, and even within the road easements,” Cimatu said.
He also said the government intends to review the road and transport network, including the use of the jetty ports, motor vehicles and other means of transport to make these conform to the most desirable means to transport people and goods within a small 1,078-hectare island.
The DENR will also revisit the Boracay Master Plan to integrate it with the more comprehensive Northern Aklan Master Plan, which is seen to boost tourism in areas near Boracay such as Malay, Caticlan, Carabao Island, and the entire Aklan province.